Whiskey and Water – Calculating the Ideal Proof

What Proof is the Perfect Proof?

There isn’t one.  It’s a matter of palate preference.  Some prefer it straight from the bottle which has a standard minimum alcohol content of 40% ABV, but some whiskeys can be 60% ABV or higher.  Others find that adding water to their whiskey makes it suit their palate better.  The key is to find the proof that’s right for you.


Adding Water to Whiskey

Whether you prefer your whiskey room temperature or chilled with a large ice ball, it’s perfectly acceptable to add water. Diluting your whiskey can help reveal subtle nuances in the flavor profile. No matter what you decide, just be sure you are using a clean glass and neutral water, so it does not adversely affect the original taste of the whiskey.

Because your nose can identify billions more scents than your tongue can taste, start by gently sniffing your whiskey. Keeping your mouth open, allow the aromas to fill your nose. Next, sip your whiskey straight to taste it as the maker intended. Assess the mouthfeel and see if you can identify specific flavors.

From there, you can determine how strong you want your whiskey to make drinking it an enjoyable experience.  Start with a set amount of whiskey, such as 2 ounces.  Then add water in graduated amounts until you reach the proof you like best.

Want some help to determine your ideal whiskey proof? Check out this proof calculator to figure out exactly how much water to add to your whiskey.